#SpookySZN: ‘Root of Evil’ has an inkling as to who killed The Black Dahlia

True Crime October 30, 2021
Listen to ‘Root of Evil’

In America’s most infamous, unsolved murder, The Black Dahlia murder left few clues. When Elizabeth Short’s body was found in an empty Los Angeles lot, America couldn’t look away. 70 years later, the case still remains cold, but many believe it was the doing of Dr. George Hodel, thanks mostly to his own son’s investigation. Now, the great grand daughters of George Hodel, sisters Rasha Pecoraro and Yvette Gentile, are digging through family history to find out the extent of the doctor’s guilt in “Root of Evil.”

As a true crime fan, you’ve probably heard the story of The Black Dahlia before: on January 15, 1947, the naked body of 22-year-old Elizabeth Short was found in an empty lot in Leimert Park. She had been brutally murdered and gruesomely dismembered. The case amassed national attention and prompted one of the largest investigations in LAPD history. Despite having over 150 suspects, the case went cold. And Short, who just six months prior moved to Los Angeles as an aspiring actress, earned a tragic fame in death, becoming better known as The Black Dahlia.

“Root of Evil” is coming forward with even more damning evidence of a main suspect. Rasha and Yvette can recall the terrifying stories of their great-grandfather they heard while growing up. Stories of Hodel murdering his secretary, hearing screams coming from his basement, and of course, the murder of the Black Dahlia. In interviews with family members, the two sisters uncover the Hodel Family secrets, because Elizabeth Short was not the doctor’s only victim.

The two biggest players featured in “Root of Evil” are Steve Hodel, the former LAPD detective and son of George who first proposed his father killed Short, and Fauna Hodel, the mother of Rasha and Yvette and the daughter of Hodel. Fauna’s strange story of Fauna Hodel starts in Reno, Nevada, when a woman offered Jimmie Lee Faison a child in the bathroom of a casino. Faison was told that a mixed race baby was being born and the mother was too young to keep it.

16-year-old Tamar Nais Hodel was the mother, and Faison was told that the baby’s birth father was Black, and in 1951, that wasn’t going down well with Tamar’s mother, Dorothy Hodel. It’s a twisted story involving cover-ups, closed adoptions, and sexual abuse. While Fauna Hodel died in 2017 (two years before “Root of Evil”), her daughters found her meticulous journals and reference Fauna’s own book One Day She’ll Darken: The Mysterious Beginnings of Fauna Hodel to tell her story.

Their uncle, Steve Hodel, was a LAPD Homicide Detective for over 20 years, handling over 300 murder investigations and had one of the highest solve rates in the department. He then worked as a private investigator. And in his private investigations, he decided to dig around his father’s life after his death in 1999. During that process, he found information that led him to believe that his father was Elizabeth Short’s killer. And more than that, he believes George to be responsible for far more than one murder.

“Root of Evil” tells the story of America’s most famous unsolved murder. A shocking story filled with horrifying secrets that have coiled through generations of the Hodel Family. With never-before-heard archival audio and first-time interviews from members of the family, Rasha and Yvette set out to figure out who George Hodel really was. And what happens next?

Listen to ‘Root of Evil’

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